What causes lithium ion batteries to explode?
by Josh Kirschner for Techlicious
Our friends from Techlicious provide additional information on the volatility of lithium ion laptop batteries.–PC Pitstop.
What do Apple, Sony, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and HP have in common? They all make laptops, sure, but each has been forced to recall their laptop batteries because of the risk of fire. In fact, since 2002, there have been more than 40 recalls due to explosion or fire risk from lithium ion batteries in laptops, phones and other electronic devices.
And when lithium ion batteries fail, they can do so in spectacular fashion. As the video below from computer support company PC Pitstop shows, lithium ion battery fires not only burn extremely hot (up to 1000 degrees fahrenheit), but can explode, sending chunks of burning metal across the room.
Lithium ion fires are also difficult to put out. Throwing water on one can actually makes matters worse. Experts recommend a Class D commercial fire extinguisher, not something most of us have sitting around the house.
UPDATE 8/9/2013: Reports from the Fire Prevention Research Institute and the FAA indicate that lithium ion battery fires do not require a Class D extinguisher—water works effectively to extinguish the flames and cool the cells to prevent further thermal runaway (thank you to Mark Rogers, Director, Dangerous Goods Programs for the Air Line Pilots Association for bringing the FAA report to my attention). If your device is plugged into an electrical outlet, it may be wise to unplug it, if possible, prior to extinguishing with water.
This excerpt appears with the permission of Techlicious.